- 4 skin-on salmon fillets
- 1/4 cup of honey
- 3 tsp. boiling water
- 3 tbsp. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 6 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp. olive oil (extra virgin)
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- For serving, fresh parsley or green onion, chopped
- Optional lemon wedges for serving
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the center.
Allow 10 minutes for the salmon to rest at room temperature. Pat it dry on both sides using paper towels.
Whisk together the honey, hot water, lemon juice, garlic, smoked paprika, 14 tsp salt, and cayenne pepper in a small mixing bowl or liquid measuring cup. Keep a close eye on the stove.
Heat an ovenproof pan (cast iron is best) just large enough to hold the salmon comfortably over medium high heat—you don't want the fish to overlap, but you don't want the sauce to burn if there's too much additional space around the fish.
1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper on the salmon (wait to season the fish until just before adding it to the pan).
Add the olive oil after the skillet is heated. Swirl to coat the pan, then add the salmon, skin-side up/flesh-side down, skin-side up/flesh-side down. If you want to avoid getting sprayed with oil, drop the fish into the pan in a direction away from you.
Adding a big sprinkle of salt to the skin side of the fish is a good idea.
Cook the salmon for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is golden and readily removes from the pan. Carefully turn each fillet over with a tiny spatula (a fish spatula is ideal). Turn the heat off.
Over the salmon fillets, pour the honey mixture. 1 minute of baste bung
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the skillet in the oven. Bake for another 4 to 5 minutes, or until the salmon flakes easily with a fork for 1-inch fillets; if your salmon is thicker or thinner, adjust the cooking time accordingly. When the salmon flakes easily with a fork and reaches 145 degrees F on an instant read thermometer, it's done. If you overcook the salmon, it will become dry (once I get close to 145 degrees F, I remove the salmon to a plate then cover it and let it rest a few minutes so the carryover cooking finishes the job).
If desired, garnish the salmon with parsley or green onion and pour more lemon over the top. Serve immediately with more pan sauce spooned over the top.